The loss of masked genius MF DOOM has hit the hip-hop community hard, leading to an outpouring of grief from every end of the spectrum. His was a once-in-a-generation character and talent, and time and tributes will undoubtedly add to his legend. Open Mike Eagle’s “For DOOM” freestyle was powerful and heartfelt, and the latest addition to this canon is “Ask Anyone” from rapper duo Lice, consisting of underground titans Homeboy Sandman and Aesop Rock.
This track is a far more celebratory affair than previous tribute tracks. The two rappers go crazy over a DOOM beat with an upbeat piano sample and a bounce so joyous you’ll “quit sobbin’ and start head-noddin’”, and DOOM would prefer it that way. Aesop Rock and Homeboy Sandman are huge DOOM disciples, going all the way back to KMD days, and they both relay their personal connections to his legacy with affection and the requisite love for the craft.
Aesop comes in straight off the beat drop with a “Roses for the OG MF” to let us know how this is going down. This lets us know out the gate that this verse is too urgent to wait through an intro. Aesop recalls in glorious detail listening to DOOM when he was Zev Love X, through to his eventual incarnation, as well as painting a vivid picture of an early show:
“Sold the first Apple Seed CDs at your Brownie’s show / While you were saying ‘Something to remember like the Alamo’/ I was yelling every word and never late/ And when you finally played 'Hey!' I felt the venue levitate.”
Aesop closes out the verse with a memory of rapping along to DOOM songs with rapper Breeze Brewin’, cherishing a moment etched in time.
“Breeze I have this memory of me and you/ Rapping Meat Grinder to each other at a BBQ in BK / Got the same memory with a couple other people too / Trading DOOM lines, that’s what people do.”
Homeboy Sandman brings his inimitable humour and style into play for his verse, which serves as a testament to DOOM’s artistry. Sandman talks about trying to unravel DOOM’s style as a young rapper, to no avail, and about the artists he discovered through DOOM’s music.
“Supervillain in the function then his peoples never far / Thanks for introducing us to John Robinson and Stahr / And a era full of rarefied jewels / And making use of airtime to making bad hairlines cool.”
Homeboy Sandman is that mate who makes you laugh in difficult times. He addresses DOOM’s occasional tendency to send masked replacements to perform at shows with the hilariously dismissive “Okay, you stiffed a few promoters,” possibly my favourite line of the track. Sandman closes the verse saluting DOOM’s decision to walk his own path in spite of industry conventions.
The whole track is abundantly clear in its message: It’s time to celebrate and spread the word of DOOM. Metalface stickers on the water cooler, Viktor Vaughan tracks Bluetoothed to your neighbour, full DOOM murals on your dad’s van. This could mutate into a movement, a counter-cultural icon, and as long as it isn’t co-opted by a death cult that could be pretty cool. The important thing now is to realise how lucky we are to have been given so much mind-boggling art by one man. Keep the tributes rolling.
You can cop the track here.